Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Vietnamese Tattoo

Tattoos aren't that common in Vietnam. However, there's one you see all the time here:

(PICTURE: The Vietnamese tattoo)

Okay, yeah, that's not a tattoo. It's a scar. However, literally 50% of Vietnamese women (and maybe 70% of foreign women living in Vietnam) have the same scar. What is it and why do they have it? Well, it's quite simple -- it's a burn from a motorbike.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that engines get hot when you drive them. Well, on motorbikes part of of the engine is exposed and perfectly level with one's calf. I've heard many different accounts of how girls have gotten this scar. Generally it's either from:
1. Falling off their motorbike and having the pipe land on their leg. Ouch.
2. Just being stupid and getting off the bike and glancing your leg up against the pipe.
3. Parking in a packed parking garage. In this case they don't get the scar from their bike but rather from the one next to them which hasn't cooled down yet.

I don't have a scar -- luckily. About four months ago I burnt myself doing a combination of #2 and #2. I parked in a very tight parking lot and decided to get off my bike on the right side...which I never do. I got off and all of a sudden felt a warm sensation down my right leg...I was leaning up against the scalding hot pipe on my bike. I immediately yelped and poured some luke-warm bottled water on myself. Somehow that did the job and I've remained scar/tattoo free.